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High Stakes Texas State Criminal Defense
Criminal activities vary in severity. Crimes that are most egregious require, among other things, intent. The world of criminal law is “high stakes,” as the ramifications of breaking the law can carry significant consequences. Criminal law in Texas covers a wide range of areas including:
- Miranda Rights: An individual has rights during police questioning, such as the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.4th Amendment Rights: The Fourth Amendment protects an individual from unreasonable search, seizure, and arrest.
- Right to Legal Counsel: Everyone has the right to competent legal counsel throughout the criminal justice system, even upon appeal.
- Right to a Speedy Trial: Everyone has the right to a trial within a “reasonable” period of time.
- Protection from Double Jeopardy: Everyone has the right not to be tried for the same crime twice.
- 6th Amendment Rights: Everyone has the right to confront anyone who accuses you of a crime. The cross examination of a witness during trial is an example of 6th Amendment rights.
- Protection from Cruel and Unusual Punishment: Everyone has the right to be protected from unduly harsh punishment.
- Prisoners’ Civil Rights: Those, convicted of crimes and incarcerated, maintain civil rights such as the right to be free from sexual crimes and sexual harassment, the right to complain about prison facilities, the right to appeal their cases, the right for disabled prisoners to have access to programs, the right to medical care, and the right to mental health care.
There is no “right side” of a DWI conviction―you’re either the victim or the offender. If you find yourself on the side wearing handcuffs, you’re going to need some help.
- Mostly, DWI crimes are related to your BAC when operating a motor vehicle and certain other circumstances (as you’ll see below). However, officers can arrest you for other alcohol-related crimes involving your vehicle.
- For example, it’s illegal to have an open container of alcohol in the passenger area of your vehicle if you’re driving or parked on a public highway (Texas defines the “passenger area” as the area designed for people to sit in while traveling).
- A simple open container violation results in a maximum $500 fine and a Class C misdemeanor. However, if you’re arrested for DWI and open container, you’ll get a Class B misdemeanor and a minimum of 6 days in jail.
Heath Hyde has handled high stakes (more capital) murder cases in Texas than any other criminal defense lawyer. Heath’s objective in these cases is the save the life of his client and have him declared “not guilty” by a jury or have the sentence reduced greatly to something manageable allowing for a renewed life.
If information is expunged from someone’s record, it is sealed and, legally, it is as if the arrest or conviction never happened. Only certain governmental agencies have access to the sealed portions of a criminal record.
In Texas, felonies are crimes punishable by terms that must be served in state prison or state jail. Less serious crimes (misdemeanors) are punishable by up to one year in local or county jail. There are various levels of felonies as follows:
In Texas, capital felonies are punishable by death or life without parole. Murder is an example of a capital felony.
If the defendant was a juvenile at the time the crime was committed and the prosecutor chooses not to seek the death penalty, then a capital felony is punishable by life imprisonment. (Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 12.31.)
First Degree Felony
A conviction for a first-degree felony can result in life imprisonment or five to 99 years’ imprisonment, as well as a fine of up to $10,000. Sexual assault against a child is a first-degree felony in Texas. (Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 12.32.)
For more information on sex crimes and penalties in Texas, see Texas Sexual Battery Laws.
Second Degree Felony
Under Texas law, second-degree felonies are punishable by two to 20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000. Causing serious injury to a family member is a second-degree felony. (Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 12.33.)
For more information on domestic abuse, see Texas Domestic Violence Laws.
Third Degree Felony
A third-degree felony is punishable by two to ten years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000. For example, possession of five to 50 pounds of marijuana is a third-degree felony. (Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 12.34.)
For more information on crimes involving marijuana, see Texas Marijuana Laws.
State Jail Felony
In Texas, state jail felonies are punishable by 180 days to two years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
If lawmakers identify a crime as a felony but fail to designate it as a particular kind of felony or set a specific sentence, then the felony is a state jail felony.
A judge must punish a defendant convicted of a state jail felony to a third-degree felony term if:
- the defendant used or exhibited a deadly weapon in the commission of the crime, or
- the defendant has previously been convicted of a felony. (Tex. Penal Code Ann. §§ 12.04, 12.35.)
For example, a conviction for theft is a state jail felony if the thing stolen is:
- a firearm
- livestock worth up to $20,000, or
- property (other than livestock) worth between $1,500 and $20,000.
Where to Get Help with High Stakes Criminal Defense
If you or a loved one has been accused of or arrested for a crime, or if you just need more information, seek the guidance of a qualified High Stakes Texas State Criminal Defense attorney. Contact Heath Hyde at 903.439.0000 or submit an online contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation with our High Stakes Texas State Criminal Defense attorney.
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Heath represents clients in all stages of federal investigations, from initial notice to trial and appeal. Most clients approach Heath in times of crisis, typically after being notified of a criminal investigation or an indictment. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Experienced Federal Criminal Defense attorney at Heath Hyde for a free consultation 24/7.